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JIM  & JESSE —DIESEL ON MY TAIL (Floating World)

Floating World serve-up an intriguing release in bluegrass (and country) brother act, Jim & Jesse McReynolds 1967 album Diesel On My Tail. The album has the South West Virginia-born act combine their staple diet of bluegrass with country music; to some bluegrass fans this just wasn’t done, but the boys had already shown themselves to be open-minded. 

Two years earlier they had recorded an album made up entirely of Chuck Berry songs, Berry Pickin’ In The Country. As for the material herewith the title gives the listener more than a casual hint of what to expect in the way of songs, and for those drawn as many are to stories about truckin’, and the people who either earned their living driving those eighteen-wheelers or were simply familiar with the haunts and life of the road this is a must listen. Bluegrass and country fans will both love this one! 

With the songs all short; the longest (“Give Me Forty Acres”) at 2 minutes and 48 seconds it's almost a minute longer than Buck Owens – Red Simpson favourite, “Sam Place”; and Herb Alpert 1965 hit “Tijuana Taxi”. With the tracks coming thick and fast no sooner do you have opening cut “Diesel On My Tail” burst out of the chute aforementioned instrumental  “Tijuana Taxi” is dropping off its pickup. Since the recording lasts a modest 24 minutes 24 seconds. 

Among the highlights (for starters) the whistle-stop offering serves up a cracking version of Terry Fell’s “Truck Drivin’ Man” and “Six Days On the Road” plusrestless story-ballad “Hot Rod Race” (G. Wilson). The song has more going for it than most any other song of its kind! It’s the type of song the listener will invariably feel the urge to play it again. With the likes of “Girl On The Billboard” that speaks of a girl wearing nothing but a smile in the picture on the billboard by the highway, and “Give Me Forty Acres” likewise rich in wonderful humour and no little knowledge of trucks and 18 wheelers the entertainment is top class. While with Jim (guitar, high tenor vocals) and Jesse (mandolin, fiddle and lead vocals true leaders, innovators and those in tow showing off some fantastic playing the set is wall to wall quality as one style rubs off the other.      

              Maurice Hope 

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September 2018

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